James Moore: A timely reminder on inflation for Mr Osborne

Outlook Just like the Office for National Statistics to spoil things for George Osborne before he stands up at the despatch box to deliver what will probably be yet another gloomy Budget.

Inflation is on the march again and while today's small rise to 2.8 per cent could have been worse, the expectations are that it soon will be worse, and perhaps much worse.

A weak pound and rapidly rising fuel prices are a nasty combination; the pressure on household incomes is unrelenting. That will feed through to the economy. Mr Osborne's hopes that growth will re-emerge to help him meet his borrowing forecasts are looking increasingly forlorn.

From an environmental standpoint, it's unpalatable. But one way to ease some of the burden would be to take further action on fuel duty, which is weighing heavily on household budgets, particularly those in lower income brackets.

An adroit Chancellor would take note. Let's see if Mr Osborne's got it in him.